- Barbie’s journey of self-discovery in the Real World shatters the naive view that the doll solved feminism’s problems.
- The movie cleverly blends humor and existentialism, with unexpected quotes like Barbie asking about death at a party.
- The film addresses consumerism, feminism, and toxic masculinity through quotes that are hilarious, poignant, and irreverent.
Warning: This article contains spoilers about the Barbie movie!Thanks to a clever script by Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach, the Barbie movie has many funny, poignant, and clever quotes. After Barbie (Margot Robbie) begins to malfunction in Barbieland, she goes on a journey of self-discovery to the Real World, and realizes that the vision of female empowerment in Barbieland has not transferred to human women’s lives. Meanwhile, Ken (Ryan Gosling) finds that the Real World is a patriarchy dedicated to ensuring men succeed at all costs and decides that it’s something that the Kens could benefit from.
With the help of Gloria (America Ferrera) and her daughter Sasha (Ariana Greenblatt), Barbie becomes acquainted with humanity’s imperfections and complexities, and Ken learns that he’s more than just an accessory, all of which threatens the future of Barbieland. Barbie is a satirical look at consumerism, feminism, and toxic masculinity, all wrapped up in a candy-coating that makes its themes and messages highly palatable. Its best quotes are not only hilarious and irreverent, but also surprisingly existential and poignant.
21 “Thanks To Barbie All Problems Of Feminism Have Been Solved.”
Barbie was created by Ruth Handler to inspire young girls to be anything they want to be, so everyone in Barbieland thinks that the Real World’s problem of feminism was solved after the doll’s creation in 1959. This sort of naive view is shattered once Barbie observes what it’s like to be a human woman mired in patriarchy in the Real World. She experiences a rude awakening when she finds out Barbies have been blamed for setting women back decades, not admired for bringing them into the future.
20 “If I Wasn’t Severely Injured, I Would Beach You Off Right Now, Ken.”
As the narrator explains at the beginning of Barbie, Ken only has a good day if Barbie looks at him, but when he tries to get her attention by surfing (which he isn’t qualified for because his job is just “beach”) he severally injures himself. After being fixed up by the Barbie doctors, he gets confronted by Ken (Simu Liu), where a “beach off” almost erupts. It’s an example of the clever double-entendres (and innuendos) that make Barbie enjoyable for adults and children.
19 “Do You Guys Ever Think About Dying?”
In the midst of Barbie’s huge party and choreographed dance number, she suddenly blurts out, “Do you guys ever think about dying?” which causes a record scratch and a gasp from every Barbie and Ken in the room. The concept of Barbie saying something so existential in the middle of a party meant to be fun is hilarious because it’s so unexpected. The quote sets the tone of the Barbie movie, which Gerwig and Baumbach have crafted into something subversive and clever.
18 “I Would Never Wear Heels If My Feet Were Shaped Like This.”
When Barbie’s intrusive thoughts of death lead to her feet suddenly becoming flat, she has no choice but to go to Weird Barbie’s house, and as she teeters up the stairs, she declares that she’d never wear heels if her feet were flat to begin with. In Barbieland, her feet are designed to wear heels every day and be comfortable because it’s part of her design as Stereotypical Barbie, the epitome of femininity and style. As she experiences the pain of wearing them when her feet are flat, it foreshadows the discomfort women in the Real World put themselves through to be considered as desirable as Barbie.
17 “I’d Like To See What Nude Blob He’s Packing Under Those Jeans.”
After Barbie meets Weird Barbie, her strange host makes a suggestive comment about what’s inside Ken’s jeans. The Barbie quote is hilarious because of the lack of accurate genitalia in a Ken doll’s anatomy has always been a point of humor. It becomes even more meta given the context that the dolls can’t consummate anything, and they don’t even kiss.
16 “You’re So Beautiful.”
After being torn down by Sasha and confronted with the sexism, sadness, and anxiety that human women experience in the Real World, a very overwhelmed Barbie sits on a park bench. When she looks over, she sees an older woman with wrinkles that she never sees in Barbieland (and which are considered undesirable for women to have in the Real World) and lets her know she thinks she’s beautiful. The woman flashes a smile and replies, “I know it!” and for a moment, Barbie is comforted by her self-affirmation, something she’s taken for granted where she comes from.
15 “I’m A Man With No Power, Does That Make Me A Woman?”
Arron Dickinson is the intern who approaches Mattel’s CEO with the unfathomable news that Barbie is loose in Los Angeles, and when she’s brought to Mattel’s headquarters thinking the company will help her heal the rift between Barbieland and the Real World, she finds herself sadly mistaken. During a dialogue about what it means for women to be empowered by Barbie in the Real World, Arron asks this question, which highlights an insidious way of thinking. Men without power in the patriarchy are inferior, ergo they must be women.
14 “Are You Shining With A Real Barbie?”
The reason Stereotypical Barbie is malfunctioning in Barbieland is because Gloria (America Ferrera), the person who’s been playing with her in the Real World, placed all of her sadness and despair into the doll. When they’re reunited and make this connection, Gloria’s daughter Sasha wonders if their connection is like the telepathic power described in Stephen King’s The Shining. This is one of the more subtle ways Barbie references famous movies, much like it did with 2001: A Space Odyssey in the beginning.
12 “Do Giant Hands Come In And Play With You?”
As Barbie, Gloria, and Sasha make their way to Barbieland, Barbie tries to describe exactly what it’s like, but they can’t imagine a place run entirely by women. At one point, Sasha asks if “giant hands” come down and play with them, to which Barbie says, “No, that would be insane.” What makes sense from Sasha’s perspective doesn’t make sense from Barbie’s, highlighting the continued culture shock between humans and dolls.
11 “Ken’s Mojo Dojo Casa House.”
When Ken transforms Barbieland into Kendom, he gives the Barbie Dream House a major renovation into Ken’s Mojo Dojo Casa House. As Gloria, Sasha, and Barbie point out, there are quite a few redundant things in his chosen title, but typical of Ken’s new patriarchal persona, he dismisses their concerns. It might not need both “casa” and “house,” but there’s no denying it has mojo as a Barbie quote.
10 “It’s Like I’ve Been In A Dream Where I Was Really Invested In The Zack Snyder Cut Of The Justice League.”
When the Barbies start to wake up from the brainwashing done to them by the Kens, Journalist Barbie makes a remark about feeling like she’s waking from a dream where she was obsessed with the Zack Snyder cut of Justice League. The film had a reputation for being loved by a vocal minority of fans known for toxic behavior. It works as both commentary on the perils of the group-think of the Kens and as a clever way for Warner Bros. to mock its own movie.
9 “Note To The Filmmakers: Casting Margot Robbie Is The Wrong Person You Want To Make This Point.”
At her lowest point, Stereotypical Barbie feels inconsolably ugly and useless, and as she’s complaining about no longer being perceived as “pretty,” the narrator pauses the film to make the point that Margot Robbie is probably not the right spokesperson for disenfranchised women because of how she fits into conventional beauty standards. The casting serves a purpose though, because it shocks Gloria into realizing that even a doll meant to represent the idealized version of beauty suffers from low self-esteem.
When Stereotypical Barbie decides to play her part in the secret mission to take Barbieland back from the Kens, she goes to Ken’s Mojo Dojo Casa House to try to reconcile. Though he initially rebuffs her, the chance to be with Barbie is still too irresistible to Ken, and he shouts, “Sublime!” in sheer joy. Not only is it amusing to hear Ken use that sort of word, but it’s also demonstrative of Barbie’s random humor.
7 “I’m A Liberated Man, I Know Crying’s Not Weak.”
After the Barbies succeed in restoring Barbieland, Ken is overwhelmed by conflicting emotions about supporting them or fighting to maintain the patriarchy. Barbie acknowledges his feelings and lets him know it’s okay to cry, something he confirms as a “liberated man,” which is unexpectedly complex from someone who not long ago defined his job in simplistic terms like “Beach” and was singing the praises of the patriarchy. In order to discover his self-worth, Ken will need to find out who he is independent of Barbie and ideological talking points.
6 “When I Found Out The Patriarchy Wasn’t About Horses, I Lost Interest Anyway.”
Even though Ken goes through all the trouble of bringing the patriarchy to Barbieland and restructuring it so the Kens run everything, he ultimately doesn’t believe in its principles of keeping women down. He just felt empty without Barbie’s approval, and his self-worth was tied to her validating his existence. Ken’s child-like innocence comes through in this quote, as does his sweetness, because really, he just liked horses, not putting Barbie down to make himself feel better.
5 “Humans Only Have One Ending. Ideas Live Forever.”
When Barbie inventor Ruth Handler visits Barbie in Barbieland, she counsels her about what it means to be a human, including the cycle of life and death and all the complexity of the process in between. Even though Barbie understands that being an idea means being immortal, she doesn’t want to be an idea of a woman, but a real woman herself. Stereotypical Barbie is the only Barbie to not have a purpose, and she finally achieves full self-actualization with her choice to become a human in the Real World.
4 “I Want To Be A Part Of The People That Make Meaning, Not The Thing That Is Made.”
Prior to setting foot in the Real World, Barbie is certain of her purpose, which is to spread empowerment to women, but after discovering all their struggles, she feels like she needs to do something with more impact. Rather than be a creation for women to look up to, she wants to be one of the women responsible for making inspirational things. Finding meaning in the quagmire of humanity is one of her most touching accomplishments, and leads to Barbie’s big name change.
3 “We Mothers Stand Still So Our Daughters Can Look Back To See How Far They Have Come.”
Ruth Handler imparts some words of wisdom to Barbie while trying to describe the relationship between mothers and daughters, and the dolls they play with. Ruth named Barbie after her daughter Barbara to inspire her to be all she could be, and her sentiment to Barbie implies that with each passing generation, it is the hope that a mother is making a better world for her daughter to inherit. It not only demonstrates the Barbie movie’s philosophical strengths, but is very like what Yoda says to a contemplative Luke Skywalker about Jedi Masters and students: “We are who they move beyond.”
2 “I Am Kenough.”
In what will surely be one of the biggest catchphrases of the movie, Ken declares that he’s “Kenough” just the way he is. He doesn’t need to define himself through his job, his house, or his clothes in order to be good enough for Barbie as long as he loves himself. From his dance number with the other Kens and his Kenough hoodie, Barbie has a very men-positive vibe even as it denounces the patriarchy.